Ali Ahmadi co-founded TCARE, a business that helps organizations battle caregiver burnout for those caring for loved ones. The team has grown from two to more than 170. After its recent $17 million Series A, the company is looking to add 100 more employees as it expands in the market.
Raising money, Ahmadi says, is never a snapshot of time. It is a continuous process.
"In our most recent round, the lead investor, American Family Ventures, the partner there had known about us and had been seeing our progress and had been a mentor of ours over time," he says. "And so raising money — and again, this is different at different stages — raising money at the Series A stage, you never just go into a relationship cold and expect somebody to write you a check. They have had to be part of your journey for a while and years to see the incremental progress that you've made and the execution that you have delivered — so that you set a plan and you execute it or if you have failed to execute it, how did you pivot, change learn and adapt and improvise to that situation?"
And that's what his investors have seen throughout TCARE's progress — from the pre-seed to later stage rounds, is not only the company's growth, but how it responded when it faced challenges. That meant that once the company started entertaining the idea of raising the next round, the lead investor was not just a cold relationship. It was somebody that they had progressed with. Very few of the 12 investors on the company's latest round were new relationships. Most, he says, had seen the company develop but hadn't joined a previous round because the timing for their fund wasn't ideal or the timing wasn't right on his side.
The Series A finds the company close to cash flow positive and was secured for M&A activities.
"There are a handful of targeted acquisitions that we are working with right now," he says. "So, for us, our Series A was not typical to other tech startups in our space, which is typically they raise money for survival. For us, it was not a financing round for survival. It was a financing around for growth and for some M&A opportunities.
Ahmadi spoke on the Smart Business Dealmakers Podcast about growing TCARE and the lessons he's learned about raising capital.